Peacock hat-trick as Belfast Giants chase treble
Hopes of a trophy treble for the Belfast Giants were given a major boost last night when the team booked their place in the semi-finals of the Challenge Cup.
And they did it in style.
Fresh from slipping to a 2-1 defeat against the Cardiff Devils in the Elite League on Saturday night, the Giants hammered the Edinburgh Capitals last night to make sure they will at least finish second in Group A.
Doug Christiansen's men will now face Braehead Clan in the final qualifying game next month to determine which team will take top spot in the group.
Once the Giants took a 2-0 lead into the first period break the outcome of the game was all but sealed.
Craig Peacock got things started in the 12th minute, firing home after fine approach play from Jon Pelle and Robert Dowd.
Peacock was then on target again as the Giants doubled their lead four minutes later.
Darryl Lloyd had been sent to the penalty box for roughing, but rather than being able to take advantage of playing with a man extra, the Capitals were hit with a sucker punch as Jeremy Rebek and Tom Dignard worked the puck from the Giants defensive zone into the Edinburgh end, where Peacock finished to the net.
Dignard then got in on the scoring act himself early in the second period as the Giants began to show their class. He struck just 79 seconds in after Aaron Clarke and Benoit Doucet had made the play.
Edinburgh did have some fight in them and they responded with a goal five minutes later, defenceman Sean Menton finding a way past Stephen Murphy.
Less than a minute later, however, the Giants’ three-goal advantage was restored as Peacock secured his hat-trick with less than half of the game gone, his fellow Englishman Dowd again the provider.
Marcis Zembergs pulled one back for Edinburgh in a busy spell for the scorers, but 4-2 was as good as it got for the home side.
Peacock was then caught up in a flare-up that also involved Edinburgh defenceman Jan Safar and the Giants Nick Kuiper.
The referee deemed that Peacock had instigated the fight and that Kuiper was third man in, Peacock hit with a 10-minute misconduct as well as roughing and fighting penalties.
Doucet grabbed his 14th goal of the season on a powerplay three minutes before the end of the second period and the Giants powered to victory as they steamrollered the Capitals in the third.
Peacock's night wasn't finished as he recorded what in ice hockey is known as a ‘Gordie Howe hat-trick' as after scoring a goal himself and fighting, he assisted as Robert Dowd made it 6-2.
Mark Garside netted before Dowd struck again, meaning six of the Giants’ eight goals were scored by British players.